This test measures the ratio of arachidonic acid (AA) to eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) in plasma. This ratio of the principle omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids is a measure of the body’s eicosanoid balance. Balancing these eicosanoids in the body is an excellent way
for managing heart disease and other chronic and inflammatory processes.
Even though cellular or chronic inflammation is silent (absent of pain signals), it can be measured with a number of medical tests.
The AA/EPA Ratio is one of the most common tests for cellular inflammation.
The two other common tests are:
EPA (n3) and AA (n6) both compete for use of the delta-5- desaturase enzyme to be synthesized. Increased dietary intake of animal fats alters fatty acid metabolism in favor of inflammation. There are many chronic diseases associated with elevations of this ratio including cardiovascular disease, mood disorders, and cancer.207-212 Increasing dietary intake of fish oils, or omega-3 fatty acid containing foods such as flax, chia, oily fish, or walnuts, can shift delta-5-desaturase activity toward the metabolism of the more beneficial n-3 metabolites. Decreasing intake of animal fats is also recommended.
The higher the AA/EPA ratio, the higher are the levels of cellular inflammation.
An AA/EPA ratio of 1.5 is considered to be ideal, since this is the ratio found in the Japanese population having the greatest longevity and the lowest incidence of cardiovascular disease.
A lower AA/EPA ratio indicates a better balance of “good” and “bad” eicosanoids in your body. The average AA/EPA of Americans is approximately 11, and for patients with inflammatory conditions and neurological disorders, the AA/EPA ratio will be in excess of 20.
How to reduce and improve the AA/EPA ratio through dietary methods:
The fastest way to reduce the AA/EPA ratio is to increase the intake of high-purity omega-3 fatty acid concentrates and to reduce the consumption of arachidonic acid (AA) and omega-6 fatty acids (LA).
Increase omega-3 rich food sources:
– Seaweed, nori, spirulina, and chlorella
– Chia seeds
– Hemp seeds
– Flax seeds
– Kidney beans
EPA is anti-inflammatory and should balance the levels of pro-inflammatory arachidonic acid. Although EPA can be produced from the essential fatty acid, ALA, dietary intakes of this fatty acid are generally poor. The conversion also requires the action of the delta-6 desaturase enzyme that may be low due to inadequate Zn, Mg, or vitamins B3, B6, and C. Such an enzyme impairment would be indicated if EPA is low and ALA is normal or high.
High levels of saturated, monounsaturated, trans fatty acids, and cholesterol also slow the conversion of ALA to EPA.
Decrease AA omega-6 rich food sources:
– Sausage, franks, bacon, and ribs
– Cold cuts
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